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Found 5 results

  1. One thing that has always bugged me in discussions about colonizing the moon or Mars is the casual way everyone overlooks the growing of food. I have a fairly well rounded background in agriculture, and I have spent a lot of time learning about the complex symbioses that a lot of plants depend on to survive. I know that NASA has been growing salad greens and some types of wheat in a very small experimental area on the ISS, but I don't think it's enough to get a good picture of what agriculture will look like on space colonies. First of all, any system that has colonists reliant on it for sustenance must be 99% sustainable at a minimum. NASA's experiments have been very closely monitored with sensors giving real-time data on all sorts of parameters to a team back on Earth, and the most they've gotten out of it is a few salads. For a serious system, it has to be somewhat robust, and able to handle some shocks and variation to conditions. It also needs to be able to reprocess all the wastewater produced by the colonists in a safe and efficient manner. These things are very possible to achieve, but they do present some challenges. Growing food is maybe one of the easier ones to handle. The most logical solution, in my mind, is aquaponics. Aquaponics is like hydroponics, but with fish. Turns out that fish poop has pretty much everything plants need to grow, and the plants are great at filtering the water for the fish. This means you only have to figure out how to feed the fish. Initially, formulating food for the fish might require some supplemental nutrients, but over time, it should be possible to stabilize the intake/output of the various micro-nutrients in the system. Probably the best species of fish to use is Blue Nile Tilapia, a fast growing breed used around the world in commercial fish farms. The other challenge to the system is processing the human poop. If composted properly, human waste makes a fantastic fertilizer for plants, but it is illegal to use human waste for growing food crops in the US. This is due to the possibility of spreading disease via unwashed vegetables. This can be avoided in our application, since we aren't growing our plants in soil. We can, however, reduce the possibility of spreading disease by using human waste to grow things like cereal grains and even fruit trees. The cereal grains can be used to formulate food for the fish, as well as for things like bread or beer. Obviously, setting up a self-sufficient system like this will require a large enough population to support it, but the advantages are many. Fore one, you won't have to have carbon scrubbers, since the plants will easily take care of that. Another aspect is the psychological benefits of having green things growing about the base. One of the largest challenges, however, will be maintaining healthy populations of bacteria in the system. Here on Earth, bacteria do a lot of the work in the treatment of wastewater, and in converting waste from both fish and humans into nutrients plants can use. These bacteria are everywhere on Earth, and can be relied on to just show up and start growing where conditions are favorable, but on an off world base, we'll have to bring our own. This could be extremely challenging, due to the high radiation environment in space, and any system on a moon or Mars base will have to be buried deep underground to protect it from radiation. There is also the potential issue of symbiotic organisms that are present here on Earth, that could affect how various plants in the system grow, or don't grow. It is also likely that we will have to introduce some species of insects into the ecosystem to pollinate plants for us. We might also bring earthworms and other species that help decomposition, so we can compost things like food scraps, plant fibers, and solids that settle out of the various wastewater systems. Worms would make great food for the fish, and they are excellent at breaking down fibrous materials. As you can see, the biodiversity of a sustainable life support system is immense and complex, and certainly not possible in a sterile space station. Sure, you could grow only certain plants and feed them with chemical fertilizer, but this would be very difficult to make self-sufficient. Anywho, I'd love to hear other folk's thoughts on the topic, this is just what's been rattling around in my head for a few years now. I'm currently thinking about going to school for engineering and soil science, either as a double major, or minoring in soil science with an engineering major. I've seen little to no discussion of the actual mechanics of "just growing food in greenhouses" and I'm hoping I can kick off a bit of discussion on the topic. I suspect that a lot of the folks into rockets and space travel aren't really into the sustainable farming movement, and vice versa, which might be why the topic is so often dismissed as a triviality or just glossed over by enthusiastic future Martians.
  2. What's really neat about the KSP forum is we have all kinds of threads. We have threads about what song is stuck in our heads, we have an entire subforum discussing our favorite mods, movies, and even a thread for dating advice. But what I find is missing is a thread about... FOOD. We know that our Kerbals love their snacks, but well, what do we snack on? Come on, admit it. We all have those strange moments in our lives where we get a strong craving for a certain food. And if you're like me, that food (or beverage) craving can be triggered by events, a commercial on television, or even just catching a whiff of something in the air. At other times, those cravings seem to come at us from nowhere and won't go away, no matter what we try. There are some of us who try to resolve the craving by eating something else, a healthier choice, but all it does is make us crave what we want even more. So, at this moment, what is the food/beverage item you're craving? Being the person I am, I'll admit it first. After getting back from walking 4.75 miles (7.64 kilometers) in an hour and twenty minutes, and after a shower, I am now craving fried clams...
  3. Hello all!! Being close to my Fall Break, I have had extra time to begin contemplation of a new mod! After playing KSP yesterday, I realized that an interplanetary mission would require food to feed the kerbals. I like to think of KSP as a relatively ideal version of the space program; the astronauts don't have to worry about food, electric charge, etc. Moreover, KSP does not cause parts to randomly fail. Does everybody remember the Antares Rocket Explosion that happened about 3 years ago? Since explosions are what make KSP interesting, I think that random part failures will make the game even better. Here are some features that will be inserted into the mod: My rule for making these mods is based on how well the community would want a mod like this. If you want to see this mod completed, please show your support so I can gauge which mods I have to prioritize finishing. If you have any suggestions, please list them in a comment; I am open to all suggestions for this mod.
  4. Well.. I've build a Harvester This is a Space Flight Simulator and i played it so much that i've felt teh urge to build a Harvester. So did you guys ever wondered about those tons of food your Kerbals must eat on those everlasting interplanetary missions? It has to come from somewhere and since KSP doesn't led you run supplies in stock, it has to be done automaticly in the backround. hm.... Ever wondered why Kerbin has no cities? Simple! They use evey hectare of fertile ground to harvest wheat and this vehicle makes it all possible. Kerbals love their bread! On long missions to distance worlds it reminds them of home. But there wouldn’t be none if it weren’t for the Kerbal farmers. Every day and night, hard working Kerbals sit on top of their Harvesters working the field, knowing they are the backbone of the Kerbal Space Program! Liquid Fuel may light the Engines, but food fires up the Kerbals Well that's atleast the backstory that came to my head when i finished this "rover" Here's teh craftfile incase some of y'all want this thing https://kerbalx.com/SpaceTrashCan/Harvester
  5. This is basically a continuation of the original Kerbal Spice Program run by @Badie (this is with her permission). The goal is to create a craft that looks like food/something that looks like food. The rules are that: The parts should be stock (I might add a modded section later, but right now I'm trying to avoid mod pizzas and procedural corndogs). It should have some kind of (at least theoretical) purpose, however vague. Ex: flying advertisement, food stand, Mun rover, etc. The scoring system is kind of arbitrary.* I guess we can periodically update a set of categories. First entrant: @Cunjo Carl Cup of Tea Most detailed: @EBOSHI Cup of Tea Most (plausibly) useful: @martiplay28yt ISRU Popsicle *if anyone has a better idea for how to work this, please let me know. @ moderators If this should be somewhere else, feel free to move it.